Lucien on Brathwaite at Bocas

Vladimir Lucien, Kamau Braithwaite…two poets currently making waves in Caribbean literature…Barbados born Brathwaite is, of course, the elder of the two and, in fact, ArtsEtc. and the Missing Slate both have tribute issues up at this writing in honour of his 85th birthday. Nailah Imojah introduces the man and his legacy over at ArtsEtc.

She speaks, among other things, of what he has passed on to us, all the writers following in his wake; lessons in “the use of and experimentation with rhythm; the need for complete honesty—a baring of the breastbone, so to speak—in one’s writing; and perhaps, most importantly, the need for a certain measure and type of fearlessness in creating one’s own literary landscapes.”

Click the link above to read the rest of it and the entire ArtsEtc tribute to the poet widely revered as a pioneer in “using ‘nation language’ as well as linguistic and typographic innovation” in his work and for connecting “strands of postcolonial, historical, and personal inquiry”. (Poetry Foundation)

The other poet mentioned at the start of this post, St. Lucian Vladimir Lucien is on his way to creating a legacy of his own – most recently his debut collection Sounding Ground won the 2015 OCM Bocas Prize for Literature. I’ve twinned his name with Brathwaite’s in this post because he’s given me permission to share his impressions of the Brathwaite Tribute and (Derek) Walcott vs. (Kamau) Brathwaite panel at Bocas.

Here it is (by Vladimir Lucien):

“The Brathwaite Tribute was focused on the voice of the poet. It consisted of an introduction by Kelly Baker Josephs, a tribute by Philip Nanton and a reading of the poem Sea Egg from the second trilogy. I read the poem/s Days and Nights, and in the voice of the man himself we had readings of Calypso and Negus, and in the end the pore-raising video/reading of Kumina which is on youtube for those of you who haven’t seen it. It was recorded I believe after Kamau won the Griffin prize for Born to Slow Horses.

The Walcott Versus Brathwaite panel was good as well. I think most panelists expressed their frustration and exhaustion with the phrase/idea of Versus. They recognised the time and ferment from which it emerged but there was general consensus that it is something we need to move away from. However, some important distinctions remain. Eddie Baugh spoke about re-reading Kamau years after the release of Rights and Arrivants, and realised how much it required a different way of reading/seeing poetry. That this poetry was not just meaning, but was doing…like a ritual. He cited a similar experience in having to read Christopher Okigbo when judging the Commonwealth prize once. Let’s hope that those who teach Kamau (like I was taught by Dr. Louis Regis) are aware of these idiosyncrasies and possibilities for poetry.

Jean Antoine Dunne also spoke about the works movement toward mural and the Sycorax text… Baugh read two poems livicated to Kamau also. I think that sums it up.

They were both well attended sessions and I’m glad that in one way or another, I had the pleasure of being part of them both.”

Those of us who couldn’t be there appreciate your reporting, Vlad. Thanks.

As with all content (words, images, other) on, except otherwise noted (and Vladimir Lucein’s authorship of the Bocas reflections is NOTED so be advised), this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight,  Fish Outta Water, Oh Gad! and Burt Award finalist Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about WadadliPen and my books. You can also subscribe to and/or follow the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks. And remember while linking and sharing the links, referencing and excerpting, with credit, are okay, lifting whole content (articles,  images, other) from the site without asking is not cool. Respect copyright.

1 Comment

Filed under Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery

One response to “Lucien on Brathwaite at Bocas

  1. Reblogged this on caribbeanpassion and commented:
    Some thoughts via Caribbean writer Joanne C. Hillhouse on Barbados’s unofficial Poet Laureate Kamau Brathwaite. #CelebratingKamau #Kamau85

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